Against Constitutive Incommensurability or Buying and Selling Friends

Noûs 35 (s1):33 - 60 (2001)
Authors
Ruth Chang
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
Recently, some of the leading proponents of the view that there is widespread incommensurability among goods have suggested that the incommensurability of some goods is a constitutive feature of the goods themselves. So, for example, a friendship and a million dollars are incommensurable because it is part of what it is to be a friendship that it be incommensurable with money. According to these ‘constitutive incommensurabilists’ incommensurability follows from the very nature of certain goods. In this paper, I examine this idea and argue that constitutive incommensurabilists have mistaken for constitutive incommensurability a particular emphatic kind of comparability. This examination involves an account of ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ goods and an explanation of how goods of different ‘types’ figure in practical conflict.
Keywords incommensurability  higher goods  value pluralism  friendship
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DOI 10.1111/j.1758-2237.2001.tb00038.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Value in Ethics and Economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Main Argument for Value Incommensurability (and Why It Fails).Stephen Ellis - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):27-43.
Some Groundwork for a Multidimensional Axiology.Alan Carter - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (3):389 - 408.
The Commodification of Care.Rutger Claassen - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (1):43-64.
Incommensurability and Trade.Nir Eyal & Emma Tieffenbach - 2016 - The Monist 99 (4):387-405.

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